Pack your suitcase, autumn, because winter is coming.
AccuWeather forecasters say an active storm trail combined with a sustained blast of cold air in the east will give many in the Appalachians, the Central Atlantic, and the Northeast the opportunity to see their first snowflakes of the season – although accumulations are not to be expected everywhere , some may need to dust their shovels for the season.
Some parts of the Great Lakes have already seen the first snow of the season when the lake effect snow machine was tweaked a bit last week, dropping several inches of snow in some communities, including more than 11 inches in parts of northern Michigan. This weekend, the lake effect snow will be back in full swing. However, while the Great Lakes region is being sprayed with snow, forecasters say Mother Nature will spread the wintry weather and over the course of a few days will bring some of the first snow of the season to a larger area.
According to AccuWeather forecasters, there are two main features to observe that a general snowpack could bring. For some, this could mean at least a couple of inches; for others, it might just be the first snowflakes of the year that might mix with some rain.
The first system will move across the region on Saturday and Saturday nights. The same storm that turned into a blizzard mid-week in the northern plains and parts of Canada is set to continue moving north towards Hudson Bay, Canada, according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dave Dombek. “Energy will break off from the western and southern peripheries of this storm and vibrate through the Great Lakes and the northeast,” he said.
On its way through the northeast, more widespread rain and snow showers will break out in parts of the region. Dombek explained that the timing of this feature can make a huge difference in forecasting.
“Areas that have daytime rainfall on Saturday will mostly see cold showers, with all snow showers being limited to the highest elevations from the central Appalachian Mountains to New York State,” said Dombek. “In the case of heavier showers, however, a brief outbreak of small hail, the so-called sleet, or partially melted snowflakes can also occur in some lower elevations.”
Later Saturday afternoon through Saturday night, when the sun goes down, there could be a switch to more widespread snow. This would likely bring snow accumulations to much of the Catskills, Adirondacks, Berkshires, and Green and White Mountains, and could even bring a small amount of snow to the Poconos and lower elevations from the upper Hudson Valley into inland New England.
The system will move forward fairly quickly and is expected to leave the region by Sunday morning. With the fast-moving nature of the storm, even areas where snow accumulates are unlikely to get more than an inch or two of slushy coating.
At this time of year, however, the roads still need winter treatment, and some roads at higher elevations can still be quite slippery even with little snow accumulation.
As soon as the first system moves on, the next one will be right on its heels. A clipper storm, a fast moving system with little moisture, will rush across the northern plains on Saturday before descending southward towards the central Appalachians from Sunday through Sunday evening.
By Monday, this storm’s energy will soar on the east coast and could help create a new storm fast enough to bring widespread snow inland, even at lower elevations, and part of the I-95 corridor could end up the first flakes of the season.
Again, the timing and tracking of this system will make a huge difference in where snowfall occurs, and forecasters say a few different scenarios could develop.
“Lake effect snow will continue over the Great Lakes on Sunday. If a clipper’s energy dips south, showers of rain and snow coming from the lakes could spread even more, ”said AccuWeather meteorologist Grady Gilman.
When the clipper crosses the Appalachians, a new depression could form somewhere near the east coast. Several scenarios could come into play here. One possibility is that the new system could form near or just from the coast inland and move northeast, spreading a general light, but likely snow, in parts of the eastern Ohio Valley, mid-Atlantic, and inner northeast is accumulated from Sunday night to Monday. Snowflakes could even reach places like Washington, DC, Philadelphia, and New York City.
This scenario could result in a slippery Monday morning commute in places like Pittsburgh and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and Albany, New York.
In a second scenario, a new depression could form much further offshore, resulting in more rain and snow offshore. Only occasional showers of rain and snow would occur in the northeast on Monday, should the system develop well off the coast.
Even if flakes could fly in parts of the I-95 corridor early next week, no snow jams are currently expected. In fact, it would be pretty early in Philadelphia and New York City when snow piles up. The average date of the first measurable snowfall in New York City is December 7th and December 9th in Philadelphia. The measurable snowfall is 0.1 inches or more.
On the other hand, in places like Pittsburgh or Albany, New York, the accumulation of snow this weekend or early next week would be considered in a timely manner. The average date of the first measurable snow in Pittsburgh is November 14th. Albany’s average date is November 16.
After the taste of winter in the east this weekend through early next week, temperatures will dip towards normal in mid-November, counteracting the cold and likely melting most of the snow that falls.
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